My trainer is out of town, and I will talk to her when she gets back next week. My horse was kicked in his flank several weeks ago, and has been off since then. Have had the vet out a couple of times, and she says it has a hematoma, he is going to be fine, but that we should continue to exercise him and work him through it. Unfortunately, my saddle doesn't fit him at all well (new one is on order!) so I'm not riding him much in it. Vet recommended lunging him. I tried doing it today, and it was obvious he has never seen a lunge line! I wound up free lunging him in the arena, and he did okay - actually got him to trot and canter around the ring (along with a bit of gallop and a buck or two!).
So how do you teach a horse to lunge? Is it fairly straight forward, or something that I should wait until after the trainer gets home before I even try it again? Thanks!!
The way that always has worked for me is to start leading the horse in the area where I want to do the longeing/lunging, but gradually step farther away from the horse, toward the center. So, for example, tracking left, you will put your lead/longe line in your left hand instead of right, and be holding your longe whip or similar in your right. You basically extend your left arm out in such a way that it is like giving the horse a long leading line, whilst asking for forward movement either by clucking, pointing at the horse's hip or using the whip to do that. How much you need to do to get the horse to move depends on the animal's sensitivity/energy level.
Gradually step farther back, playing out more line. Once you have the horse walking around you, practice halts, walks, and then ask for trot and/or canter. I have found that this is a great way to instill voice cues for those gaits on greenies, BTW, which can simplify teaching canter under saddle. Because circling places torque upon legs, it is best to have boots or wraps, such as polos on legs and bell boots on front feet. Try not to do much fast work in a small circle.
One mistake many people make, IMO, is cracking the whip instead of just pointing it at the horse's hip. Worse still, some not so bright people keep cracking it even when the horse is moving in the desired direction, which just confuses most horses, or in worst case scenario, pushes them into galloping frenzied freakout mode.
RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died. 3/17/12, Jenny has crossed Rainbow Bridge; 5/23/2012 Snowy too now.